A meeting of the San Diego Unified School Board / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

More than a decade ago, the San Diego Unified School District promised to have “quality schools in every neighborhood” by 2020.

The district said that the quality of a school would be based on more than test scores: Are students challenged academically? Do they have a safe learning environment? Are their teachers well-trained?

“Nothing is going to stop us from moving forward on academic achievement,” said school board trustee John Lee Evans about the plan, called Vision 2020, in 2013. “We have students in schools that are seriously under-performing and this is an urgent matter to address.”

Yet, as Will Huntsberry reports, while some key factors have improved, the achievement gap remains “stubbornly unmoved” by several key indicators. Many underserved student groups are still under-performing, and some are packed into schools that have been under-performing for many years.

“My political response would be, I applaud the policy that has been initiated and put in place,” said one former San Diego State education professor involved with local schools since the 1980s. “And I see that some progress has been made.”

But is there a quality school in every neighborhood? “No, of course not,” he said.

Taking it 2 the Streets: Smart Streetlight Edition

City Attorney Mara Elliott held a press conference Tuesday touting the game-changing “crime-solving capabilities” of the city’s smart streetlights, but the press conference quickly devolved into a public debate between Elliott and opponents of the technology.

Elliott delivered her remarks beside a memorial for a security guard who was recently shot and killed. Officials contend footage from the smart streetlights led to arrests in the case. Controversy over the streetlights has centered on the extent to which law enforcement has access to information from them, and how effectively city leaders have ensured the technology is not abused.

Elliott said she was prepared to help city officials write new rules outlining the technology’s use, but chastised city officials for failing to ask more questions about the streetlights when they were initially deployed.

When she was finished speaking, a group of activists made their case for increased privacy protections for surveillance technology. One activist, Genevieve Jones-Wright, who in 2018 ran for district attorney, has alleged Elliott should recuse herself from streetlight discussions because of stock she owns in a company involved in the processing of data collected by the streetlights. Elliott accused Jones-Wright of defamation and the two eventually accused each other of being “outrageous.”

In Other News

  • Customs and Border Protection told a select group of media outlets on Tuesday it had uncovered the “longest illicit cross-border tunnell ever discovered by authorities.” The agency is holding a press conference Wednesday, but told media members it alerted about the press conference not to share the press release. We didn’t receive the release, and only know about the invite-only press conference because Union-Tribune reporter Wendy Fry took it upon herself to post the press release on Twitter (good on ya). 
  • Officials announced this week that San Diego’s infrastructure backlog has climbed to $2.16 billion. More than half of the projects are considered “priority” because they are required by state mandates or affect community health and safety, reports the Union-Tribune. VOSD’s Ashly McGlone reported last year on the city’s funding shortfall and projections that lacked a concrete plan to pay for the needed fixes.
  • The City Council voted 5-4 Tuesday to ban motorized scooters on San Diego’s boardwalks. (NBC 7)
  • Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, whose court-martial for allegedly shooting civilians made national news, put a video on Facebook Monday striking back at fellow SEALs who testified against him, calling them cowards and disclosing their duty status and current units, which former SEALs say could put them at risk. (Union-Tribune)
  • Late Monday, the City Council settled a handful of outstanding issues on the deal to sell the former Qualcomm Stadium property to SDSU, moving the transaction forward by deciding how to handle affordable housing, the purchase price and property taxes. Nonetheless, some issues are still unsettled, and it looks like the deal won’t be finalized on track with SDSU’s ambitious timeline. An SDSU spokesperson said the university could still complete the first phase of its development plans on time, even if the transaction stretches on. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts and Megan Wood, and edited by Sara Libby.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.